Archive for October, 2012

The Trial of Faith

October 31st, 2012

If you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you —Matthew 17:20

We have the idea that God rewards us for our faith, and it may be so in the initial stages. But we do not earn anything through faith— faith brings us into the right relationship with God and gives Him His opportunity to work. Yet God frequently has to knock the bottom out of your experience as His saint to get you in direct contact with Himself. God wants you to understand that it is a life of faith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings. The beginning of your life of faith was very narrow and intense, centered around a small amount of experience that had as much emotion as faith in it, and it was full of light and sweetness. Then God withdrew His conscious blessings to teach you to “walk by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And you are worth much more to Him now than you were in your days of conscious delight with your thrilling testimony.


Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. Faith being worked out into reality must experience times of unbroken isolation. Never confuse the trial of faith with the ordinary discipline of life, because a great deal of what we call the trial of faith is the inevitable result of being alive. Faith, as the Bible teaches it, is faith in God coming against everything that contradicts Him— a faith that says, “I will remain true to God’s character whatever He may do.” The highest and the greatest expression of faith in the whole Bible is— “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15)._


October 31, 2011

Journal for Today-JDV

Lord, it is so easy to talk about faith and hope when they are not the glue of our days and nights. It is easy to stand back in the distance and study faith and hope and love. It is when I am required to live in intense faith and hope that I am drawn even closer to You though. And even as I am
drawn closer and closer to You through pain and sorrow it seems clear that my faith and hope become renewed.

And God says…”Do not try to get out of your trials too easily or quickly, let them have their
perfect desired outcomes, namely bringing you closer to Me. Praise Me in your trials and notice how their meaning and power shifts. Seek first the Kingdom of heaven, which is Jesus, and all the things you want or need will be added to your life. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Acknowledge the Lord in all of your life, even the trials, and
notice how your capacity for love, faith and hope is increased.”


October 30th, 2012

Without faith it is impossible to please Him . . . —Hebrews 11:6

Faith in active opposition to common sense is mistaken enthusiasm and narrow-mindedness, and common sense in opposition to faith demonstrates a mistaken reliance on reason as the basis for truth. The life of faith brings the two of these into the proper relationship. Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short. Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. “We know that all things work together for good . . .” (Romans 8:28) so that no matter what happens, the transforming power of God’s providence transforms perfect faith into reality. Faith always works in a personal way, because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children.

For every detail of common sense in life, there is a truth God has revealed by which we can prove in our practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. God brings us into particular circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless. Faith is the entire person in the right relationship with God through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord
The thing about faith that I’ve noticed is that I dont usually notice it … until looking back at an event. If I am in the middle of something and trying to ramp up my faith … it’s usually too late, and I come up with some kind of will power carnal thing that never works your kind of miraculousness. So faith gets built and faith gets tested and it seems to happen without me recognizing it. Except for the general belief in Rom 8:28 that all things work together for good because I love you and you love me. And the general belief that you have plans for me, for good (Jer 29:11) Analyzing it deeply gives me a headache … but understanding the concept is helpful.


October 29th, 2012

2 Corinthians 5:21… He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him —

The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made. . . to be sin. . . .” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. In speaking to the world, Jesus Christ never referred to Himself as One who revealed the Father, but He spoke instead of being a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9 , where Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was spoken to His disciples. That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (seeGalatians 4:19).


October 29, 2012

Journal Entry-JDV

Lord I pray that You help me remember your sacrifice and recall your love and commitment of a future as well. Sometimes right in the middle of the hurry up of life and self-centeredness of my own issues I forget to recall your love and sacrifice for which I am truly thankful. Lord, help me to see my status and position as your child.

And God says…”Seek first My Kingdom, which is Jesus. Acknowledge the Lord in all your ways and He will make your paths straight, delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Simply stay connected to Jesus in all you say and do and you will know your secure position with Me. Whenever life seems to be too fast, too uncertain and painful, check your connection to Jesus. When you are secure in your connection, all else fails into place; regardless of circumstances. And I know the future I have for you…for good.”

The Eternal Crush Of Things

October 24th, 2012

“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s noble man or woman amid a crowd of ignoble things. Never make this plea – If only I were somewhere else! All God’s men are ordinary men made extraordinary by the matter He has given them. Unless we have the right matter in our minds intellectually and in our hearts affectionately, we will be hustled out of usefulness to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no matter in them of God’s almighty grace, no matter of His mighty word. Paul’s whole heart and mind and soul were taken up with the great matter of what Jesus Christ came to do, he never lost sight of that one thing. We have to face ourselves with the one central fact – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

“I have chosen you.” Keep that note of greatness in your creed. It is not that you have got God but that He has got you. Here, in this College, God is at work, bending, breaking, moulding, doing just as He chooses. Why He is doing it, we do not know; He is doing it for one purpose only – that He may be able to say, This is My man, My woman. We have to be in God’s hand so that He can plant men on the Rock as He has planted us.

Never choose to be a worker, but when God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. He will do with you what He never did with you before the call came He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

The Proper Perspective

October 24th, 2012

Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . . . —2 Corinthians 2:14

The proper perspective of a servant of God must not simply be as near to the highest as he can get, but it must be the highest. Be careful that you vigorously maintain God’s perspective, and remember that it must be done every day, little by little. Don’t think on a finite level. No outside power can touch the proper perspective.

The proper perspective to maintain is that we are here for only one purpose— to be captives marching in the procession of Christ’s triumphs. We are not on display in God’s showcase— we are here to exhibit only one thing— the “captivity [of our lives] to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). How small all the other perspectives are! For example, the ones that say, “I am standing all alone, battling for Jesus,” or, “I have to maintain the cause of Christ and hold down this fort for Him.” But Paul said, in essence, “I am in the procession of a conqueror, and it doesn’t matter what the difficulties are, for I am always led in triumph.” Is this idea being worked out practically in us? Paul’s secret joy was that God took him as a blatant rebel against Jesus Christ, and made him a captive— and that became his purpose. It was Paul’s joy to be a captive of the Lord, and he had no other interest in heaven or on earth. It is a shameful thing for a Christian to talk about getting the victory. We should belong so completely to the Victor that it is always His victory, and “we are more than conquerors through Him . . .” (Romans 8:37).

“We are to God the fragrance of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are encompassed with the sweet aroma of Jesus, and wherever we go we are a wonderful refreshment to God.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord,
It’s sometimes hard to believe that you are excited about me. Especially when I’m not excited about me … and probably when I am excited about me. I guess the difference between you and me (one of many) is that you dont change … whereas I go up and down. You made a decision a long time ago that you were going to pay a high price and redeem a bunch of sinning humans. Ever since that decision, history has marched on, the humans kept on sinning and you kept on loving.
It seems that we can get to a level of stability and unchanging, this side of heaven. Paul and some of the other gospel writers say so. So that is my prayer today. Make me more like you in that way … unchanging in the face of changing circumstances. Not just Stoic. But reflecting and channeling your love into the world … the same, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the circumstances.
I love you.

Note: Sometimes when we are searching for the right song … we find two songs that together bring a more complete complement to the written material. In those cases we’ll put the second song in at the end. DJR

Nothing of the Old Life!

October 23rd, 2012

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new —2 Corinthians 5:17

Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices— He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We even say to ourselves, “God has to deal with other people in a very strict way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.” But we must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. Our old gloomy outlook disappears, as does our old attitude toward things, and “all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind . . . is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
I dont actually consciously think and believe that you will skip over my prejudices while dealing with others. The variation that I tend toward is acknowledging that my sin is there in me, and will be dealt with someday … but in the meantime it’s covered by your blood. So I try to focus on what you have already done in me and not on what is yet to be done. Focusing on trying to improve my sinful parts falls into “Sin Management” or Guilt Management, and only makes me a better Pharisee … which adds pride and judgementalism to my list of problems. So I walk in some level of freedom, knowing that there is sin in me, sin that will be dealt with … But it will happen in your way and your time. My job is simply to show up, Surrendered and ready for whatever molding toward Christlikeness that you have for me today. Surrendered of all that you’ve already shown me and ready to surrender to whatever you show me today.

The Witness of the Spirit

October 22nd, 2012

(the song was written spontaneously, to honor the victims of the recent Colorado shooting. But see if it doesn’t speak to today’s message as well. djr)

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit . . . —Romans 8:16

We are in danger of getting into a bargaining spirit with God when we come to Him—we want the witness of the Spirit before we have done what God tells us to do.

Why doesn’t God reveal Himself to you? He cannot. It is not that He will not, but He cannot, because you are in the way as long as you won’t abandon yourself to Him in total surrender. Yet once you do, immediately God witnesses to Himself—He cannot witness to you, but He instantly witnesses to His own nature in you. If you received the witness of the Spirit before the reality and truth that comes from obedience, it would simply result in sentimental emotion. But when you act on the basis of redemption, and stop the disrespectfulness of debating with God, He immediately gives His witness. As soon as you abandon your own reasoning and arguing, God witnesses to what He has done, and you are amazed at your total disrespect in having kept Him waiting. If you are debating as to whether or not God can deliver from sin, then either let Him do it or tell Him that He cannot. Do not quote this or that person to Him. Simply obey Matthew 11:28 , “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden . . . .” Come, if you are weary, and ask, if you know you are evil (see Luke 11:9-13).

The Spirit of God witnesses to the redemption of our Lord, and to nothing else. He cannot witness to our reason. We are inclined to mistake the simplicity that comes from our natural commonsense decisions for the witness of the Spirit, but the Spirit witnesses only to His own nature, and to the work of redemption, never to our reason. If we are trying to make Him witness to our reason, it is no wonder that we are in darkness and uncertainty. Throw it all overboard, trust in Him, and He will give you the witness of the Spirit.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
Today you remind us again that you are the source and the power for anything good that we do or become. Since you provide the redemption and the empowering of the Spirit and the witness of the Spirit and the conviction of the Spirit … we are left with the question: “OK, then, what is our part? What are we to do without it being in the power of our own flesh. It seems that our job is to simply “Show Up” daily with a context of belief and expectation. Belief in what you’ve already shown me and expectation that you have plans for me … plans for good and a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11) So why study? Not so I can know more, the Pharisees knew lots, but so I can believe more and expect more … and from that context, I will be able to obey more.

The Key to the Missionary’s Devotion

October 18th, 2012

. . . they went forth for His name’s sake . . . —3 John 7

Our Lord told us how our love for Him is to exhibit itself when He asked, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:17). And then He said, “Feed My sheep.” In effect, He said, “Identify yourself with My interests in other people,” not, “Identify Me with your interests in other people.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us the characteristics of this love— it is actually the love of God expressing itself. The true test of my love for Jesus is a very practical one, and all the rest is sentimental talk.

Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit— “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .” (Romans 5:5). And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet. I remain faithful to His name, even though the commonsense view of my life may seemingly deny that, and may appear to be declaring that He has no more power than the morning mist.

The key to the missionary’s devotion is that he is attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself. It does not mean simply being detached from the external things surrounding us. Our Lord was amazingly in touch with the ordinary things of life, but He had an inner detachment except toward God. External detachment is often an actual indication of a secret, growing, inner attachment to the things we stay away from externally.

The duty of a faithful missionary is to concentrate on keeping his soul completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people, but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him, which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Journal DJR
Good Morning Lord.
I remember the time that I became conscious of your love flowing through me to other people. I was actually surprised by it. I was in a leadership position, with people that were not like me and I would have had no natural inclination to spend time with. But after a while I began to love them. I was surprised, as I had previously had to “gear up” to go into a ministry and service mode. Now it just flowed, and I remember saying to myself, “Hey, I can do this, This is actually easy and fun” I realize now that I could do it because I was allowing your love to flow through me. I can say with Paul, Romans 7:18 New Living Translation (NLT) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] I want to do what is right, but I can’t.

So that was a great time. I loved being a conduit for your love. Help me find more situations that can be like that. Regular social interactions seem so much less intense.

The Key of the Greater Work

October 16th, 2012

. . . I say to you, he who believes in Me, . . . greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father —John 14:12

Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered; a “wise” man does not (see Matthew 11:25).


Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . .” (John 14:13). Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We must learn to work according to God’s direction, and He says to pray. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).

There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.


Journal For Today-JDV

October 17, 2012

Lord, I do not know about greater works or simple works I just know what is and is not working for me right now.  When things do not work out for the best, I wonder and worry…am I being and living the right way? Are you trying to teach me something…and do have to endure another “lesson” that is really just one more way of saying…I must learn one more thing? Can we avoid all these lessons?

And God says…”Your lessons are your lessons, and you need all of them. And even as you are going through another set of lessons that may in fact be difficult, you should remember what I said in Jeremiah…

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Acknowledge Me In all your ways and I will make your paths straight. Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will take care of itself.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When you seek Me first everything else falls in place.”

God’s Silence— Then What?

October 11th, 2012

When He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was —John 11:6

Has God trusted you with His silence— a silence that has great meaning? God’s silences are actually His answers. Just think of those days of absolute silence in the home at Bethany! Is there anything comparable to those days in your life? Can God trust you like that, or are you still asking Him for a visible answer? God will give you the very blessings you ask if you refuse to go any further without them, but His silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself. Are you mourning before God because you have not had an audible response? When you cannot hear God, you will find that He has trusted you in the most intimate way possible— with absolute silence, not a silence of despair, but one of pleasure, because He saw that you could withstand an even bigger revelation. If God has given you a silence, then praise Him— He is bringing you into the mainstream of His purposes. The actual evidence of the answer in time is simply a matter of God’s sovereignty. Time is nothing to God. For a while you may have said, “I asked God to give me bread, but He gave me a stone instead” (see Matthew 7:9). He did not give you a stone, and today you find that He gave you the “bread of life” (John 6:35).

A wonderful thing about God’s silence is that His stillness is contagious— it gets into you, causing you to become perfectly confident so that you can honestly say, “I know that God has heard me.” His silence is the very proof that He has. As long as you have the idea that God will always bless you in answer to prayer, He will do it, but He will never give you the grace of His silence. If Jesus Christ is bringing you into the understanding that prayer is for the glorifying of His Father, then He will give you the first sign of His intimacy— silence.


Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
This lesson at first glance seems counter intuitive. It doesn’t fit in human interactions. Yes, this certainly looks like a stone instead of a loaf of bread.
It seems that two things are necessary to get to where I can see that it is truly a loaf and not a stone. Really it all comes with experience. Experience that finally sees the Long View … maybe the eternal view. From the view of eternity, it’s easier to see the stone as a blessing that draws us closer to you. We are so short sighted, us humans. It is helping me to be obedience training Hero my new puppy … He’s even more short sighted than me.
Help us this day, Lord, to stretch out the length of our view of our circumstances. And see them like you see them. Like my lost keys, that turned up lost just as I was ready to leave to an important appointment. Hey, they are just some keys, and I can change the appointment, or maybe there’s something else for me to do or learn. Or I could just stress out. Help me choose your view today … and stay expectant and curious to see how this strange looking blessing will unfold, and morph in my vision to where I see it as You see it.